T.O’s for G.E’s

Hannah Uncategorized Leave a Comment

While registering for engineering classes, you’ll often hear that frustrated exhale when dealing with G.E’s. But you’ll also find that some students are in the Thematic Option Program.
The thematic option replaces the G.E. requirements; in other words, instead of taking the G.E’s, you’ll take four CORE classes, two writing seminars, two theme courses and a diversity requirement. The classes are generally smaller than the G.E’s, capping off at about 25 people for the core classes and around 12 for the writing classes.
In fact, I’ve gotten really close to my classmates through some of the trips planned by T.O, which sends out a weekly newsletter about its events for the week such as dinner at the last bookstore, visiting the Getty Villa or spending a weekend in Catalina.
One of the main reasons I chose the thematic option was because, different from G.E classes that tend to focus on specific imperative issues such as gender equality, T.O classes strives towards grasping ambiguous themes that probe the mind to think about topics like captivity and speed (the velocity and the drug). The faculty are a renown group of highly dedicated professors that challenge their students to think and answer stimulating—almost impossible—questions like what is human nature?
Note that exploring these ideas requires a lot of reading and writing—about a book a week in addition to supplemental reading and several essays and a creative project for the writing classes. Yet I look forward to not only attending my T.O classes but also doing the work for them. If you really love reading and writing and wish to improve both, while dealing with ambiguity, I’d highly encourage learning more about T.O.
So if you do decide to apply, I’d recommend keeping an open mind when choosing classes. Some themes may seem daunting or boring at first; however, take the risk and you’ll find that listening to a lecture on the material will open a different perspective that can change a once adamant opinion. In addition, while professors reviews may factor into your decision, skim the book list too to see if they seem even remotely interesting because you’ll end up discussing and writing about them.
I never regret choosing T.O, despite the frequent discussing, reading and writing. But it’s not for everyone—that’s why there’s an application! So if you want to hear more about my experience

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